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Unformatted text preview: in the basement, she spoke over to Papa, who was
repainting the wall again.
Both he and the paint fumes turned around. “Was wuistz?” Now this was the roughest form of German a person
could speak, but it was spoken with an air of absolute pleasantness. “Yeah, what?”
“Would I be able to write a letter to Mama?”
“What do you want to write a letter to her for? You have to put up with her every day.” Papa was schmunzeling
—a sly smile. “Isn’t that bad enough?”
“Not that mama.” She swallowed.
“Oh.” Papa returned to the wall and continued painting. “Well, I guess so. You could send it to what’s-her-name
—the one who brought you here and visited those few times—from the foster people.”
“That’s right. Send it to her. Maybe she can send it on to your mother.” Even at the time, he sounded
unconvincing, as if he wasn’t telling Liesel something. Word of her mother had also been tight-lipped on Frau
Heinrich’s brief visits.
Instead of asking him what was wrong, Liesel began writing immediately, choosing to ignore the sense of
foreboding that was quick to accumulate inside her. It took three hours and six drafts to perfect the letter, telling
her mother all about Molching, her papa and his accordion, the strange but true ways of Rudy Steiner, and the exploits of Rosa Hubermann. She also explained how proud she was that she could now read and write a little.
The next day, she posted it at Frau Diller’s with a stamp from the kitchen drawer. And she began to wait.
The night she wrote the letter, she overheard a conversation between Hans and Rosa.
“What’s she doing writing to her mother?” Mama was saying. Her voice was surprisingly calm and caring. As
you can imagine, this worried the girl a great deal. She’d have preferred to hear them arguing. Whispering
adults hardly inspired confidence.
“She asked me,” Papa answered, “and I couldn’t say no. How could I?”
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.” Again with the whisper. “She should just forget her. Who knows where she...
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2014 for the course ENG 99 taught by Professor Michal during the Winter '13 term at CSU Sacramento.
- Winter '13